New Article Published: Your Best Advice To A Driver Preparing To Go Solo

Topic 20016 | Page 2

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Vendingdude's Comment
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"Also, never ever let someone rush you into being unsafe. When you're trying to back up into that spot, and the other drivers are waiting for you to get out of the way, do not rush just to appease them. Ignore them. Fugetaboutem. Do your thing.SAFELY!"

And if you find your patience thermometer about to blow, bail out! Missed your pullup? Visibility bad? ****ed drivers creeping into your space? Just give up and circle around. It REALLY is not worth the chance of an incident with witnesses just because SOMEONE ELSE is impatient. YOU, the rookie, (or veteran, for that matter) lose NOTHING by shooting for another space at a truck stop or shipper. Of course, if at a shipper and you have an assigned space others just have to wait. Get help, GOAL a lot, etc.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Great advice above!

When you are reviewing things you can do better, don't obsess over what your dispatcher said or didn't say. If something is unclear, call them or message them on the Qualcom. (Tip: Ask them which they prefer. But if they want to be called, call them, then use the QC if you really need to have it in writing.)

Your dispatcher is expecting you to have questions and difficulties. You're a rookie, after all. So don't sit and stew and wonder -- talk to the person who has an answer. Remember they have a bunch of other drivers. Don't be too needy like an eighth grader with their first crush, but don't worry that you're bothering them if you just aren't getting it.

Better to be sure than to guess.

And if you do seem too needy, dont worry. They've got other drivers who will do something to upset them and that will push you completely out their mind.

This is especially important if you are the sort who tends to be highly critical of your own performance.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Susan D. 's Comment
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NEVER move your truck until you know exactly where you are going and WRITE DOWN your route.. whether it's on an easily accessible note pad, post it notes stuck to your dash, or dry erase markers on the window.

You're still going to have the occasional missed turns but knowing exactly where you are going will save you so much aggravation and trouble. If you don't have directions to a shipper or receiver, CALL THEM and ask for truck safe directions. Never rely on a GPS because they can and do fail and will often steer you wrong.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

millionmiler24's Comment
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I would first of all start by saying: Get plenty of rest at night. If you don't feel safe EVEN THE LEAST LITTLE BIT, DONT DO IT. When you get up and get ready to drive, a THOROUGH PRETRIP is your BEST FRIEND. You can PREVENT a lot of accidents by doing a proper PRETRIP. If you need help with PRETRIP Look NO FURTHER than Daniel B.'s Pretrip guides:

With a proper Pretrip, you can catch most issues and have them fixed BEFORE they become an ACCIDENT waiting to happen. Do NOT let anyone at all RUSH YOU when BACKING or doing ANYTHING that involves moving that truck. Remember at ALL times when you are inside of or around that truck: YOU ARE THE CAPTAIN OF THAT TRUCK. YOU and only YOU make the decisions about how to handle that truck. If a 4 wheeler gets under your skin, just brush it off and move on. DON'T stoop to their level. YOU are the PROFESSIONAL DRIVER, not them. Also, make sure to stay with your FIRST COMPANY FOR BARE MINIMUM 1 YEAR. This makes your resume look great to anyone wanting to give you a BETTER truckin job. Also, keep your DAC , PSP and MVRs clean and spotless. That CDL License is your LIFE, take care of it as you would your own family. On the topic of CDLs, keep your DOT physical current and updated with the DMV. Too many people end up losing their CDLs because of this. If you certify as a NON EXCEPTED INTERSTATE DRIVER which is 95% of the drivers over the road , a current MEDICAL CERTIFICATE is REQUIRED for you to keep with you and also to keep on file with the DMV. Also, don't let your emotions run that truck. Make sure you are feeling well before starting off in that truck. Leave your personal problems at home. Don't bring them with you on the road. ALWAYS keep a level head. Don't let someone push you over the edge. If its another CMV Driver that is, just laugh it off as Brett said and move on. Also let them know that they were there at some point in their career. Also, Trip Plan like no tomorrow every load. DONT rely solely on the GPS. Make sure you have the most current Rand McNally Motor Carriers Laminated Road Atlas. Also when at shippers and receivers and at truck stops, if you are not sure how to get it in the hole, ALWAYS GOAL (Get Out And Look). Also remember TruckingTruth is ALWAYS here if you NEED US!

So basically Pretrip, control your physical and mental emotions, trip plan well, keep your reports and your med card and license current, GOAL at anytime you are PARKING that truck, and also, Stay with your FIRST COMPANY at least ONE FULL YEAR. Also remember: TruckingTruth is here ANYTIME you NEED US!

Do ALL OF THE ABOVE and you should be prepared for solo life over the road. Brett and Moderators: if I missed something, feel free to correct me. In the meantime, Stay SAFE OUT THERE!!!!!!!!!!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

Things are going to happen that won't go your way. There will be days where you will question your decision and absolutely hate your job and all you can think about is how amazing it would be to just be home. Other days there is nothing else in the world you would rather do than to be out on the open road driving a truck. This is completely normal especially in your first few months.

Also communication is very vital. You will have small things you don't like and you may feel like you are getting the short end of the stick at times. Work with your dispatch and keep the lines of communication open. Keep a level head and be polite in your interactions with them. Look at them as your partner out here. You work with each other to keep you and the company successful.

Lastly remember everywhere you go Shippers, receivers and even truck stops you are the face of the company. if you are rude to people or do unsafe things out there then you not only make yourself look bad but your company as well. No one ever sees the office personnel or the company executives but they will see the drivers on a daily basis. Do your part to put you and your company in a good positive light.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

Take your time. No need to be in a rush. I know you want to prove yourself as a great driver, but don't do unsafe things or rush things to get there. The office know you are new, just enjoy the ride.

GOAL is a skill, it needs to be learned. When you first start to (get out and look) you don't know what to really look for, but just take a step back and assess the situation. Feel nervous going between to trucks? Or one at the blindside? Ask your fellow driver for help, most people are nice and would rather help you in, than be filling out paperwork after you hit their ride.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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You guys, this is amazing stuff! Exactly the kind of stuff I knew you'd come up with. Keep it coming! I'm going to begin putting the article together today but it won't be released until Thursday so plenty of time yet.

Great stuff!

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

All rookies do a few things, so be prepared to prevent them from happening.

1). Lock yourself out of the truck so hide a spare key with a paper clip, not a magnetic box that will fall off the truck in a construction zone.

2). Jump the 5th wheel. Get out and look to see if the trailer is high before you back under. If your kingpin does get stuck behind the skid plate, lower your airbags and place a hammer under your plate to level it. Then pull forward.

3) Hit something. You will.most likely do it. So swing wide and GOAL to try to prevent it. If you do have an accident, own it and make no excuses. Learn from it.

4) Reefer rookies forget to fuel the reefer before going to the customer Make fueling part of your routine. Fuel before and after each customer Check the fuel level on every walk around at every stop or break.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Shiva's Comment
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Short but simple from my 1st trainer "Don't hit anything "

Old School's Comment
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As a rookie solo driver, I took the advice of that old adage that says, "Slow and Steady Wins the Race." I had some ideas of my own on how to make money at this career, and I was working on them in my own mind. I slowly but steadily would incorporate the strategies I was formulating into my daily routine. I had a three pronged focus for that first year. I wanted to...

- Communicate effectively with my Driver Manager

- Be safe (not hit anything)

- Always be on time with my loads

Those three things were sort of the cornerstone of my future years of success at driving a truck. I wasn't out to set the world on fire with how much I could accomplish for that first year. Now, I wanted to be the type of driver who could get a lot done, but I considered building that good foundation on those three principles was crucial for my future success. It has paid off well for me, and I think anyone starting out should focus on those three things.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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